With North Carolina losing 90-57 at Florida State on Saturday, an e-mailer wanted to know what is the largest loss, by way of point margin, by a team that went on to be the eventual NCAA Tournament champion?
Sports Reference/College Basketball is a great resource, but it’s hard to find game-by-game results for teams prior to 1979.
From my research, dating back to 1980, the largest I could find was the 1993 North Carolina team that lost by 26 points, 88-62, at Wake Forest on Jan. 30 that season. (The next game, the Tar Heels lost 81-67 at Duke.) The 1985 Villanova team, which beat Georgetown in the NCAA final at Rupp Arena, lost by 23 points, 85-62, to Pittsburgh at the end of the regular season that year. The 1991 Duke team lost by 22 points, 96-74, to
Duke North Carolina in the ACC Tournament. The 2002 Maryland team lost by 21 points, 99-78, at Duke.
If you can find the answer, let me know.
I put together a chart of the worst loss by each NCAA champion dating back to the 1980 Louisville Cardinals.